End to Lockout a Small Improvement for Tembec Workers

January 14, 2010

Tembec has been ordered by the Manitoba Labour Board to end the lockout of more than 250 of its employees which began September 1, 2009. But that doesn’t mean the workers will soon be back on the job.

The lengthy lockout has been the prelude to the company either selling the paper mill in Pine Falls or closing it. In December 2009, the company said that even if the members of the United Steel Workers and COPE agreed to its massive concession demands, they would not be called back to work.

The order to end the lockout means that layoff notices will be issued to the workers, enabling them to apply for Employment Insurance benefits. But how many will qualify for EI benefits is uncertain, since the period of time the lockout lasted will complicate their applications.

In the meantime, an arbitrator will attempt to sort out the outstanding issues that remain between Tembec and the two unions.

The MFL would like to once again thank the generous contributions from Unions and the public for the support they have shown the locked out Tembec Workers. It’s shameful how workers have been treated by Tembec.

Further commentary on the order to end the lockout can be found on the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press web sites.